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      RS 17:158     

  

§158. School buses for transportation of students; employment of bus operators; alternative means of transportation; improvement of school bus turnarounds; loading and unloading students

            A.(1) Except as provided by Subsection H of this Section and in accordance with the requirements of Subsection F of this Section, each city, parish, and other local public school board shall provide free transportation for any student attending a school of suitable grade approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education within the jurisdictional boundaries of the local board if the student resides more than one mile from such school. This requirement shall not apply to any student attending a nonpublic school pursuant to R.S. 17:4011 through 4025.

            (2) A city, parish, or other local public school board may provide transportation for any student attending a school of suitable grade approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education within the jurisdictional boundaries of the local board who resides one mile or less from the school when the school board determines that conditions exist to warrant such transportation. Transportation of students residing one mile or less from their school shall be at no cost to the state.

            (3) Conditions that exist and warrant transportation as authorized by Paragraph (2) of this Subsection may include but shall not be limited to the residence location of a person convicted of a sex offense as defined in R.S. 15:541 relative to registration of sex offenders, sexually violent predators, and child predators.

            (4) For the purposes of this Subsection, any city, parish, or other local public school board may employ school bus operators as defined in R.S. 17:491. However, nothing in this Section shall prohibit a city, parish, or other local public school board from entering into contracts or mutual agreements for providing school bus transportation.

            B. If a parish or city school board determines transportation by school bus is impractical or is not available or that other existing conditions warrant it, the board may make arrangements for the use of common carriers in accordance with uniform standards established by the state superintendent of education and at a cost based upon the actual costs of such transportation.

            C. If transportation is not provided by the parish or city school board by reason of economically justifiable reasons approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in accordance with the provisions of Subsection H of this Section, the Department of Education, in accordance with the provisions of Subsection D hereof, shall reimburse the parent or tutor of any student who resides more than one mile from the school attended by the student to the extent and in the amounts that funds are so appropriated by the legislature, but in no event shall such reimbursement exceed one hundred twenty-five dollars per student or three hundred seventy-five dollars for any one family.

            D. Claims for reimbursement shall be submitted to the superintendent of education by the parent or tutor of an eligible student not later than July 1 of each year for reimbursement claims for the previous school year. Each claim shall be in the form of an affidavit executed by the parent or tutor of the student, affirming the accuracy of the claim. The affidavit shall be in the form prescribed by the state superintendent of education and shall be furnished by him to each parish and city superintendent of education. The superintendent of education shall notify principals of public and nonpublic schools no later than April 1 of each year that claim forms for reimbursement are available at the local school board offices. Beginning with the 1979-80 academic school year, claims for reimbursements shall be in the form of a claim made by each parent or tutor affirming to the accuracy of such claim, which form shall contain a statement that any person who knowingly or willingly violates the provisions of this Section by filing a false claim or fraudulent claim shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be imprisoned for not more than one (1) year or fined not more than $500 or both, and that the filing of any false claim shall be and constitute a violation of the criminal laws of the state of Louisiana and particularly shall constitute false swearing under the provisions of R.S. 14:125. This provision of law shall supercede and be in lieu of the filing of a notarized affidavit as heretofore required by this Section. Within sixty days after the beginning of the fiscal year the Department of Education shall begin issuing checks payable to parents or tutors of the students.

            E. Any parish school board may provide gravel or contribute funds to the local governing authority for the gravelling of school bus turnarounds. However, nothing in this Section shall prohibit the local police jury from gravelling school bus turnarounds at the request of the school board without the necessity of said school board furnishing any materials or funds for the work done.

            F. The provisions of this Section shall apply to eligible public and nonpublic school students. However, these provisions shall not apply to any student or the parent or tutor of any student who attends a school which discriminates on the basis of race, creed, color, or national origin.

            G. Any person who knowingly and willfully violates the provisions of this Section by filing a false or fraudulent claim shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be imprisoned for not more than six months or fined not more than five hundred dollars, or both.

            H.(1) No parish or city school board shall eliminate or reduce the level of transportation services provided to students as required by the provisions of this Section except for economically justifiable reasons approved in accordance with the provisions of this Subsection by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

            (2) Any parish or city school board seeking approval to eliminate or reduce the level of transportation services to students for economically justifiable reasons shall submit with its request for approval the following information:

            (a) Figures for the three most recently completed fiscal years showing the board's actual revenues from all sources, including any prior year surpluses, and actual expenditures for operating purposes. These figures shall include detailed information relative to any revenues received specifically for providing transportation services to students and the actual expenditures of the board for providing transportation services to students.

            (b) Figures for the current fiscal year and for the next fiscal year showing, according to the most recent estimates, the board's anticipated revenues from all sources, including any prior year surpluses, and anticipated expenditures for operating purposes. These figures shall include detailed information relative to any anticipated revenues to be received specifically for providing transportation services to students and the anticipated expenditures of the board for providing transportation services to students.

            (c) The estimated cost on both a per pupil basis and on a per bus route basis for the current fiscal year and for the next fiscal year for the board to comply with the student transportation requirements of Paragraph (A)(1) and Subsection F of this Section.

            (d) A description of the board's proposed reduction in or elimination of student transportation services indicating the number of students involved, any specific routes proposed for reduction or elimination, and the estimated savings to be achieved through the reduction of elimination of transportation services.

            (e) A written statement attested to by the chief financial officer of the school system, the local superintendent of schools, and the presiding officer of the school board that sufficient funds are not available or are not expected to be available, regardless of funding source, to permit the board to provide the transportation services to students being proposed for reduction or elimination.

            (f) A written statement attested to by the chief transportation officer of the school system, the local superintendent of schools, and the presiding officer of the school board that the proposed reduction in or elimination of transportation services to students does not have a disparate impact on any group of students by reason of race, creed, sex, disability, residence, or school attended, whether public or approved nonpublic, elementary or secondary.

            (g) Any additional information deemed necessary by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

            (3) The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education shall take under review and consideration any request by a parish or city school board for approval to reduce or eliminate student transportation services submitted in compliance with the provisions of this Subsection, however no such approval shall be granted by the board until the state superintendent of education has certified the accuracy and validity of the information submitted by the parish or city school board.

            I.(1) Each city, parish, and other local public school board may provide transportation to any full-time student who is twenty years of age or younger and attending a technical college campus, that is part of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, within the jurisdictional boundaries of the local board. If the closest technical college campus is located outside the jurisdictional boundaries of the local school board, the board may facilitate the transportation or coordinate with neighboring boards to facilitate transportation to the technical college campus.

            (2) The local public school board where the student resides, may assess a fee to each student utilizing the transportation services provided pursuant to this Subsection, not to exceed the actual cost of providing such transportation, including administrative costs.

            (3) The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education shall adopt rules in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act to implement provisions of this Subsection.

            (4) The provisions of this Subsection shall not apply to:

            (a) Local public school boards in a parish with a population of more than three hundred thousand persons according to the most recent federal decennial census.

            (b) Local public school boards in any parish that operates a parish-wide public transit system that provides sufficient service to meet the transportation needs of students attending technical colleges located in the parish.

            J. The governing authority of each public school shall adopt policies and procedures or shall make provision in its bus transportation service agreement to do all of the following:

            (1) Prohibit a bus operator from loading or unloading students at school while the bus is in a traffic lane of any type of street as defined in R.S. 32:1 and require that students be loaded or unloaded on a shoulder, in a school parking lot, or at other appropriate off-road location at the school as determined by the school governing authority. The requirements of this Paragraph shall not apply if the shoulder of a municipal road is the only available alternative and the municipality has not made the shoulder available by designating that area for loading and unloading students during designated school zone hours.

            (2) Prohibit a bus operator from loading or unloading students at or near their homes while the bus is in a traffic lane of any type of street as defined in R.S. 32:1 and require that students be loaded or unloaded on a shoulder unless the governing authority determines that loading or unloading on a shoulder is less safe for the student. However, if there is no shoulder or if the shoulder is determined to be less safe, a bus operator may load and unload a student while the bus is in a lane of traffic but only if the bus is in the lane farthest to the right side of the road so that there is not a lane of traffic between the bus and the right-side curb or other edge of the road.

            (3) Prohibit a bus operator from loading or unloading a student in a location on a divided highway such that a student, in order to walk between the bus and his home or school, would be required to cross a roadway of the highway on which traffic is not controlled by the visual signals on the school bus.

            Amended by Acts 1969, No. 143, §1; Acts 1975, No. 392, §1; Acts 1976, No. 281, §2; Acts 1977, 1st Ex.Sess., No. 18, §1; Acts 1979, No. 202, §1, eff. July 3, 1979; Acts 1980, No. 206, §1; Acts 1986, No. 1001, §1; Acts 1986, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 6, §1, eff. Dec. 24, 1986; Acts 1989, No. 10, §1; Acts 1992, No. 24, §1, eff. May 25, 1992; Acts 2010, No. 460, §1, eff. July 1, 2010; Acts 2010, No. 750, §1, eff. June 29, 1010; Acts 2012, No. 2, §1; Acts 2012, No. 672, §1; Acts 2014, No. 654, §1; Acts 2014, No. 811, §8, eff. June 23, 2014; Acts 2015, No. 421, §1, eff. July 1, 2015; Acts 2017, No. 335, §1.

NOTE: Section 2 of Acts 2010, No. 750, provides that the provisions of this Act shall supercede the provisions of Acts 2010, No. 460.



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